With gas prices averaging $2.50 a gallon and climbing, everyone feels the crunch when it comes time to fill up. By making small changes to how you drive your vehicle, as well as keeping your car maintained, you can lessen the pain at the pump. Here are a few tips and tricks to save money when you fill up.
When your engine is cold, it uses significantly more gas than when it is warm. To improve gas mileage, combine trips instead of making several smaller trips. Since the engine will be warm after driving one of those small trips, by making them right after another, the rest of those trips will be made after the engine is warmed up, saving gasoline.
Instead of getting on the gas quickly and braking quickly, get on the gas slowly and gently, and anticipate stops so that you can coast to a stop using the brake only slightly. Not only will this extend the life of your car, it will save energy and use less gas.
Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. For every pound your tires are under inflated, you can lose one to two percent of your fuel mileage. It is best to check your tire pressures at least once a month. Not only will this save on fuel, it will significantly extend the life of your tires as well.
If your car has not had a tune-up recently, make an appointment with your local garage to get it done. When your engine is out of tune, it is burning fuel inefficiently, which can ruin gas mileage. The tune-up will pay for itself over a few months with the added fuel savings.
Make sure that all fluids in your vehicle are completely filled and maintained. If the transmission fluid is low, then the transmission will not shift efficiently, thus costing you with poor fuel mileage. If the oil has not been changed within three months or three thousand miles, then get it changed. The clean oil will improve engine performance.
Avoid idling your engine when it is unnecessary, try to drive at consistent speeds, and slow down and drive the speed limit. The faster you travel, the more gas it takes to travel a given distance. By maintaining a constant speed, you are saving energy by not having to accelerate. When your engine is idling gas is being wasted, so if you need to wait a few minutes, turn the car off and turn it on when you are ready to leave.
If all of these tips are applied, your gas mileage can be improved up to 25%. Even if a couple of dollars are saved each time you fill up, over the course of one year the savings can be significant.